Nicholls students a high-caliber group, statistics show

THIBODAUX –The student body of Nicholls State University is full of committed, competitive, high-caliber degree-seekers, according to official enrollment statistics for fall 2011.

The average ACT score for first-time freshman students is 21.7, exceeding the state and national averages by 1.6 and 0.6, respectively. The number of first-time freshman students at Nicholls with ACT scores who met national benchmarks for English has also exceeded state and national figures, with the figures for math holding steady.

In addition, Nicholls awarded 42 valedictorian scholarships this fall, an increase of 12 from last fall. Plus, the percentage of first-time freshman students receiving TOPS scholarships increased to 60.3 percent, a 1.9-percent jump from last year.

The total number of Nicholls students receiving TOPS scholarships increased 12.9 percent over the most recent five-year period, compared to the overall statewide decrease of 1.4 percent during the same time period.

Retention rates have jumped as well, despite a decrease in enrollment by 319 students to a total of 6,774. The fall retention figure is 71.5 percent, an 11.3-percent increase since the final year of open-selections admissions at Nicholls, 2004.

Moreover, based on preliminary figures, administrators predict graduation rates will rise significantly, from 28.7 percent to 37.9 percent – an 11.2-percent increase over the final, open-admissions cohort in 2004.

“It is remarkable that Nicholls has accomplished these feats while experiencing decreases in undergraduate enrollment,” Leslie Dishman, director of assessment and institutional research, said. “Our selective-admissions students, who began their studies in 2005, are graduating at a faster rate than ever, with more bachelor-seeking students graduating in four years than Nicholls has ever seen. We are also seeing an increase in course load across all classifications, with the exception of seniors – an indication that our students are progressing faster without having to take so many hours during their last year of study. All these factors point to one conclusion. Nicholls is attracting, retaining, progressing and graduating a higher caliber student.”

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